Point Loma edition 1993
Blavatsky Trust edition 2010
Behind the processes of Cosmos and all the operations of Nature there is design. The ultimate purpose behind all the cosmic activity cannot be perceived by our finite faculties but Occult Science teaches that the whole process tends toward a progressive unfoldment of SelfConsciousness. There are deep inner areas of subjectivity which at present cannot normally be reached, but something of the design behind the evolutionary process as it applies to our more immediate realms of being and what is in them can be discerned from, for example, the increase in the sentiency of things as they ascend through the kingdoms. Occultism extends this view, perhaps surprisingly. The following introduces some novel, even strange, ideas:
"Every form on earth, and every speck (atom) in Space strives in its efforts towards self-formation to follow the model placed for it in the 'HEAVENLY MAN' ... Its (the atom's) involution and evolution, its external and internal growth and development, have all one and the same object - man; man, as the highest physical and ultimate form on this earth; the MONAD, in its absolute totality and awakened condition - as the culmination of the divine incarnations on Earth." Secret Doctrine (I 183, I 205,I 234)
There are two aspects to the evolutionary process:- one is the gradual progress of the Monad through the Kingdoms, from the Elemental to the Superhuman; the other is the cyclic nature of its progression. There are cycles within cycles, each itself composed of smaller ones. Each cycle, however, proceeds along the axis of the next larger one, like the coiled coil filament of an electric lamp.
The small coils in Nature are the life cycles of its small lives, of which the life forms of larger creatures, with longer life cycles, are composed, and so on up the scales of being. As forms develop complexity and refinement they become the vehicles for progressively expanding consciousness, where expanding means an ever-widening and deepening field of consciousness. This process extends not only up to the human stage, but beyond it. The significance of this serial development is that matter, the physical as well as the non-physical substances of the inner (to us subjective) realms, becomes educated by their experience in the living beings whose principles are composed of them. All substances are thereby developed to be suitable to play their part in the constitutions of beings and are continually refined as creatures ascend the ladder of life. The more developed beings impress their inner substances with, or project into them, the ideal patterns of their forms. While these forms may originally have been those which Nature had evolved for her purposes in the various situations of earthly existence, they become modified. Modifications in the inner worlds reflect into modifications in the outer, physical world. This process in terms of earth time is exceedingly slow but it is the inner mechanism of evolution. All things coming into being from the within to the without are modified according to changes in the inner subjective worlds. Very occasionally there are relatively sudden changes not in accordance with slow modification, like the sudden departure of dinosaurs. Gradual development is sometimes supplemented by a stepped programme at Dhyan Chohanic levels.
In these processes of ever-becoming, man on Earth is a critical stage. In him it is said the spiritual aspects and the material aspects of Being are equal. Up to the man-state matter was in the ascendent but after it the spiritual aspect begins to predominate. The highest or most developed Beings in the posthuman kingdoms represent the forefront of progressive change; as such they become not only the Architects of the forms in the kingdoms below them but also, according to their rank, they become directors, the governors and regulators of the processes. All this is the LAW in operation. There are many passages in the literature describing the numerous aspects of this ordered ever-becoming process; one, attributed to Hegel, summarizes its whole scope:
... the Unconscious evolved the Universe only "in the hope of attaining clear self-consciousness", of becoming, in other words, MAN; for this is also the secret meaning of the usual Puranic phrase
about Brahma being constantly "moved by the desire to create". This explains also the hidden Kabalistic meaning of the saying: "The Breath becomes a stone; the stone, a plant; the plant, an animal; the animal, a man; the man, a spirit; and the spirit, a god". The Mind-born Sons, the Rishis, the Builders, etc., were all men - of whatever forms and shapes - in other worlds and the preceding Manvantaras. Secret Doctrine (I 106, I 123, I 167)
It is important to notice here that it is the "Breath", the Monad, or rather its vehicles, which go through the evolutionary stages; for example, no animal, as such, ever becomes a man, neither has any individual man ever been a plant or animal, nor according to this doctrine can he ever revert and be one in, say, a future life.
The passage goes on to explain
This subject, being so very mystical, is therefore the most difficult to explain in all its details and bearings; since the whole mystery of evolutionary creation is contained in it ... Secret Doctrine (I 107, I 123, I 167)
Another aspect of the mystery is that in Unity there are really no discrete parts. Everything is not only in and of the whole but is itself that whole. When considering the inner worlds altogether, we must somehow transcend our ideas of magnitudes if we are to comprehend this. In the (to us) subjective worlds there are no dimensions; they have no magnitude in relation to anything at physical level that we know of. If we bear this in mind, a further quotation may have meaning:
Yet this cosmic dust is something more; for every atom in the Universe has the potentiality of selfconsciousness in it, and is, like the Monads of Leibnitz, a Universe in itself, and for itself. It is an atom and an angel. Secret Doctrine (I 107, I 123, I 167)
The evolutionary process is the actualization of this inherent potentiality. From within outwards is the rule, but between the extreme of spirit on the
one hand and physical matter on the other, there are states corresponding to the middle planes of Nature, all subjective to us at our physical level. The inner worlds are, however, those of archetypal, spiritual ideation at the higher levels and of prototypes at the mental and psychic levels in the Astral Light.
Now the evolution of the external form, or body, round the astral is produced by the terrestrial forces, just as in the case of the lower kingdoms; but the evolution of the internal or real MAN is purely spiritual. It is now no more a passage of the impersonal Monad through many and various forms of matter - endowed at best with instinct and consciousness on a quite different plane - as in the case of external evolution, but a journey of the "pilgrim-Soul" through various states of not only matter but Self-consciousness and self-perception, or of perception from apperception.
The MONAD emerges from its state of spiritual and intellectual unconsciousness; and, skipping the first two planes - too near the ABSOLUTE to permit of any correlation with anything on a lower plane - it gets direct into the plane of Mentality. But there is no plane in the whole universe with a wider margin, or a wider field of action in its almost endless gradations of perceptive and apperceptive qualities, than this plane, which has in its turn an appropriate smaller plane for every "Form", from the "mineral" monad up to the time when that monad blossoms forth by evolution into the DIVINE MONAD. But all the time it is still one and the same Monad, differing only in its incarnation, throughout its ever succeeding cycles of partial or total obscuration of spirit, or the partial or total obscuration of matter - two polar antitheses - as it ascends in the realms of mental spirituality, or descends into the depths of materiality. Secret Doctrine (I 175, I 198, I 228)
All the above is describing something of the process of man's becoming and telling of the uniquely important place he holds in the evolutionary process.
The principles of evolution as generally accepted by science, in so far as the survival of the fittest, and the development of life forms from the
primitively simple to the most complex are concerned, are in line with the esoteric view. The latter, however, differing from science, includes the inner, invisible worlds and their influence on the outer. It also includes the further idea of a planned progression, a systematic programme. The total economy of Nature is involved in this and all phases, e.g. at the physical level, all the necessary links in the food chain are coordinated. Another example of this programming is the timed arrival of the Root Races on the planet to coincide with the shifts in the continental land masses, i.e. their emergences from and submergences into the oceans.
Yet a further aspect of this evolutionary process, according to the esoteric view, is the transmission of not only physical but mental and psychic characteristics from units of life to their successors along any given chain of lives, e.g. from one personality to the next personality in man. In this process the Auric Envelope, or Egg, plays a significant part. It is the causative link between lives: for example, in it are stored the karmic effects of a man's successive lives. There is an Auric Egg or its equivalent for every living thing. In man it contains the Skandhas, the aggregate of those elementals which are conditioned by all his activities, both subjective and objective, during life.
Regarding the mechanism of physical heredity, orthodox science recognizes the role played by germ cells (genes, chromosomes, DNA) but in this connection Mme Blavatsky quotes a hypothesis propounded by a Professor Weissmann which negates the process of Darwinian transformation and substitutes the more occult view. The Professor shows
- one infinitesimal cell out of millions of others at work in the formation of an organism, determining alone and unaided by means of constant segmentation and multiplication, the correct image of the future man (or animal) in its physical, mental and psychic characteristics. It is that cell which impresses on the face and form of the new individual the features of the parents or of some distant ancestor; it is that cell again which transmits to him the intellectual and mental idiosyncrasies of his sires, and so on. This Plasm is the immortal portion of our bodies - simply through the process of successive assimilation ... those germinal cells do not have their genesis at all in the body of the individual, but
proceed directly from the ancestral germinal cell passed from father to son through long generations. Secret Doctrine (I 223 fn, I 243, I 269)
It was this hypothesis which was accepted by the Professor and a note says it is to this cell that he traces the immortal portion of man. But whence that embryological cell? The Secret Doctrine says,
Complete the physical plasm ... the "Germinal Cell" of man with all its material potentialities, with the "spiritual plasm", so to say, or the fluid that contains the five lower principles of the sixprincipled Dhyan - and you have the secret ...
When the seed of the animal man is cast into the soil of the animal woman, that seed cannot germinate unless it has been fructified by the five virtues (the fluid of, or the emanation from the principles) of the six-fold Heavenly man. Secret Doctrine (I 224, I 245, I 271)
The passage goes on to explain that in the lower kingdoms the "germinal cell" does not have all five principles but in man it must or "he will be born no higher than an animal", and even then he must be overshadowed by the upper spiritual principles.
As far as the animal kingdom is concerned, Esoteric Science does not agree with the Darwinian theory that man's original ancestor was the ape. It reverses that idea. It agrees there was a common ancestor but states that it was human not animal. This statement is elaborated and justified. It begins with a reference to the animal forms of the Third Round having been carried forward into the Fourth Round:
And finally the forms and genera of neither man, animal, nor plant were [at the start of the Fourth Round] what they became later. Thus the astral prototypes of the lower beings of the animal Kingdom of the Fourth Round, which preceded (the Chhayas of) Men, were consolidated, though still very ethereal sheaths of the still more ethereal forms or models produced at the close of the Third Round on Globe D. "Produced from the residue of the
substance matter; from the dead bodies of men and (other extinct) animals of" ... the previous Third Round ... ... while the nondescript "animals" that preceded the astral man at the beginning of this life-cycle [Fourth Round] on our Earth were still, so to speak, the progeny of the men of the Third Round, the mammalians of this Round owe their existence, in great measure, to man again ... Secret Doctrine (II 186, II 196, III 192)
To an extent then the animal forms at the beginning of the Fourth Round were the progeny of men of the Third Round.
The text tells us that the man forms were the first to arrive on Earth (Globe D) in the Fourth Round. The mammalia were derived from these forms and to begin with, like man, they were hermaphrodite.
The animals, however, became bi-sexual. "THE ANIMALS SEPARATED THE FIRST (into male and female)... [and] BEGAN TO BREED." Man followed suit. "HE (man) SAID 'LET US AS THEY: LET US UNITE AND MAKE CREATURES'. THEY DID." Secret Doctrine (II 184, II 194, III 190). The process of the separation of the sexes in the Third Race is told in The Secret Doctrine Vol-II, Stanza X. Then follows a description of how the then mindless men of the time "took huge she-animals unto them".
Third Race man at this time was virtually speechless but acquired speech later. The progeny of his 'sin' with the animals, however, remained dumb, "to keep the shame untold". We are not told what the huge she-animals were. Man at this time being "mindless" was irresponsible, but mind was bestowed on him by the Manasaputras half way through the Third Race, at the time of the division of the sexes. In the Fourth Round, therefore, man had mind and was a responsible being. Nevertheless, we are told, some of the more primitive members of the Fourth Race ... "took wives fair to look at. Wives from the "mindless", the narrow headed. They bred monsters, wicked demons, male and female ..." . Secret Doctrine (II 271, II 284, III 273)
It was from these unions that the present anthropoid apes are descended. The great apes, however, have been the subject of evolutionary changes
since those remote times. Since those matings, Nature has prevented offspring resulting from unions of individuals of too widely differing species.
The present primary apes are the 'one solitary exception' See Part II, page 180 from the animal kingdom able to become man in this Fifth Round. It is said they will do so because by way of their ancestry - more than half human - they are possessed of human Egos. These Egos are entities who had already reached the human stage before this Round. Secret Doctrine (II 262, II 274, III 264)
The reason for the physical resemblance of the apes to that of man is obvious from their ancestry but the following is interesting a propos the barrier between differing species:
Let us remember in this connection the esoteric teaching which tells of Man having had in the Third Round a GIGANTIC APE-LIKE FORM on the astral plane. And similarly at the close of the Third Race in this Round. Thus it accounts for the human features of the apes, especially of the later anthropoids - apart from the fact that these latter preserve by heredity a resemblance to their Atlanto-Lemurian sires. Secret Doctrine (II 688 fn, II 727 fn, IV 258 fn)
Evolution of the human race on a planet proceeds through the seven stages of the Root Races. These stages leave their representatives behind long after a new Race has taken the stage. Similarly each Root Race has seven sub-Races and each of these progressively smaller divisions. These divisions small or large are not those used by students of academic Ethnology.
Each of the esoteric divisions, in their day, had its physical characteristics, colour and so on. They inhabited various regions of the earth. Catastrophes caused mass migrations at intervals over vast periods of time. The Secret Doctrine contains a mass of information concerning the Races and their subdivisions. The following is an important example:
They "of the yellow hue" are the forefathers of those whom Ethnology now classes as the Turanians, the Mongols, Chinese and
other ancient nations; and the land they fled to was no other than Central Asia. There entire new races were born; there they lived and died until the separation of the nations ... Nearly two-thirds of one million years have elapsed since that period. The yellowfaced giants of the post-Atlantean day, had ample time, throughout this forced confinement to one part of the world, and with the same racial blood and without any fresh infusion or admixture in it, to branch off during a period of nearly 700,000 years into the most heterogeneous and diversified types. The same is shown in Africa; nowhere does a more extraordinary variability of types exist from black to almost white, from gigantic men to dwarfish races; and this only because of their forced isolation. The Africans have never left their continent for several hundred thousands of years. If tomorrow the continent of Europe were to disappear and other lands to re-emerge instead; and if the African tribes were to separate and scatter on the face of the earth, it is they who, in about one hundred thousand years hence, would form the bulk of the civilized nations. And it is the descendants of those of our highly cultured nations, who might have survived on some island without means of crossing new seas, that would fall back into a state of relative savagery. Thus the reason for dividing humanity into superior and inferior races falls to the ground and becomes a fallacy. Secret Doctrine (II 425, II 443, III 424)
So the complex story of evolution unfolds. We have seen that the whole process is keyed to the archetypal form, at the highest level of ideation, of the Heavenly Man. Everything in the vast process is being developed to play its part in the constitution of perfected man, and man, we must remember, is a complex of principles for all of which the physical body is the instrument of expression during physical life. The evolutionary process takes place on all levels, right through to the super-human ones. It is in these lofty levels that man's development will culminate. He then will become a 'Builder' and then an 'Architect' in his turn. We are all embarked on a stupendous journey, whereon the pace of our going is entirely up to us, individually. By the principle of Unity, however, each man's progress furthers that of the whole of humanity.
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